Ethernet/IP Race Track: Performance Metrics and Testing for your Industrial Network Interface
James D. Gilsinn
Networking has become a reality on the industrial floor. Most devices in the industrial environment are networked in order to reduce the cost of installation and maintenance and improve interoperability. Proprietary hardware and protocols were traditionally used for these networks, but in the last few years more companies have been switching over to networks based on Ethernet and TCP/IP. The information technology (IT) world has used Ethernet and TCP/IP for decades, and has developed many tests for the performance of network devices. These performance tests may not be applicable to industrial equipment, since they are primarily designed for testing how fast a device forwards packets from one port to another (i.e. hubs, switches, and routers). Industrial equipment users are more concerned with how fast they can turn on a relay, control a valve, or read the status of a machine. The Intelligent Systems Division (ISD) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is working with the Open DeviceNet Vendors Association (ODVA) to develop performance metrics and tests for EtherNet/IP (Ethernet / Industrial Protocol) devices. These metrics and tests will be designed to give the user an idea of how fast their signals will be processed by a particular device. Instead of testing networking infrastructure devices like the IT world does, these tests will be designed primarily for the end point devices, such as programmable logic controllers (PLCs), distributed control systems (DCSs), distributed input/output (I/O) devices, sensors, and actuators. The tests will also not be designed to provide information about how the device performs at all levels of the networking protocol, but instead will give the overall performance of the device for the user to compare two similar products.
Proceedings of the ISA Industrial Ethernet Technical Conference
Ethernet/IP Race Track: Performance Metrics and Testing for your Industrial Network Interface, Proceedings of the ISA Industrial Ethernet Technical Conference, Atlanta, GA, [online], https://tsapps.nist.gov/publication/get_pdf.cfm?pub_id=822576
(Accessed May 29, 2023)